Remember when I begged American readers to vote wise? I'm sure you all did, but we are still stuck with a raging lunatic in control of nuclear launch codes. On November 8, 2016, I predicted the following:

"There will be war, there will be economic crisis, there will be social crisis and there will be a healthcare crisis."

I hate how right I am so far--and after Trump's thoughtless and incredibly stupid words yesterday, I'm so afraid I'll be even more correct in my prediction. Trump has delivered his first speech to the UN, and in his infinite idiocy, he declared that unless Pyongyang halts the development of its nuclear weapons program the US may may have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea. He went on to call North Korean leader Kim Jong-in a: “Rocket man [is] on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”

Now, this is not a political blog and I'm not a political person. Threatening to totally destroy a country with 25 million inhabitants, however, goes beyond the boundaries of politics and spills into the core of human decency.

Yes, North Korea is dangerous. Their missile program is dangerous. The UN should have stepped up and addressed the issue a lot sooner. None of that excuses genocide. Nothing ever excuses the murder of millions of innocent civilians. Nothing excuses threatening to nuke innocent people. Period. 

I have thrown a lot of ancient wisdom at the "Trump situation" already, from Solon, to Aristotle, a lot of ancient wisdom applies. I'll leave you with another bit of ancient wisdom while I seethe about this situation, from  Plato's, The Republic. I wish the Americans who voted for this man had taken heed of this.

[W]hen the cobbler or any other man whom nature designed to be a trader, having his heart lifted up by wealth or strength or the number of his followers, or any like advantage, attempts to force his way into the class of warriors, or a warrior into that of legislators and guardians, for which he is unfitted, and either to take the implements or the duties of the other; or when one man is trader, legislator, and warrior all in one, then I think you will agree with me in saying that this interchange and this meddling of one with another is the ruin of the State."
Archeologists have unearthed a fortress in Russia’s Krasnodar Region, which was supposedly founded by Hellenic colonists in the fifth century BC. This reports The Greek Reporter.



Head of the expeditions department at the Research Center for Cultural Heritage Preservation Ivan Tupalov told TASS that the citadel had been found in the area where an energy bridge to Crimea is under construction.

"Security work was underway in connection with the construction of the energy bridge between Rostov and Taman [the part of the energy bridge that would incorporate Crimea in Russia’s energy grid, ensuring uninterrupted power supply to the peninsula – TASS]. During excavations, an ancient fortress was unearthed. Judging by its fortifications, it was a Greek citadel founded by colonists, who came to settle the Black Sea coast… Such discoveries are not made every day."

According to him, the fortress is estimated to date back 2,500 years, as it is believed to have been built approximately in the fifth century BC. Its walls were made of mud bricks, which is why they did not last until today, but some traces can be seen in places where the ditch was and where towers once stood. The citadel had an area of around eight hectares. In the seventh and eighth centuries AD, the earth ramparts left over from its walls were turned into a burial ground, while in the past decades, the area was partly occupied by fields.

Tupalov said that scientists have yet to find answers to a lot of questions. The number of the citadel’s residents is still unknown (it can be estimated based on the number of the uncovered ceramic shreds). Another puzzling question is whether during ancient times, the Kuban River was connected to the sea by a firth or did the Helenes build their fortress on the seashore, or did they move deep inland, something which was uncommon for them. In addition, Archeologists have found a number of noteworthy artifacts.

"For instance, a bowl has been excavated which has an interesting picture of figures engaged in a dance resembling the ‘sirtaki’ dance. Besides, there are various small incense burners as the Greeks were very fond of fragrances, there are also pieces of jewelry and ceramic shards."

The ancient Hellenes, who came to the territory of the present-day Kuban in the fourth century BC, established their or colonies on the sea coast. They founded the Bosporan Kingdom on the shores of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, spreading their civilization and peacefully coexisting with peoples living on the Taman Peninsula. In the fourth century AD, the Hun tribes drove the Greeks out of this area.
Swamped! So swamped! I'm sorry, have a video on philosophy. It's the best I can do today. More tomorrow!

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky lived from 29 July 1817 to 2 May 1900. He was a Russian Romantic painter and is considered to be one of the greatest masters of marine art. Aivazovsky was born into an Armenian family in the Black Sea port of Feodosia in Crimea and was mostly based there. In 1845, Aivazovsky traveled to the Aegean Sea with Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and visited the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, and the Greek islands of Patmos and Rhodes, gaining inspiration for his art. During his almost 60-year career, he created around 6,000 paintings, making him one of the most prolific artists of his time. Today, I'd like to share some of his (ancient) Hellas themed art.

The Acropolis of Athens [1883]

The wedding of the poet in ancient Greece [1886]

Travel of Poseidon by sea [1894]

Crete [1897]
I was re-reading The Odysseia, as I am prone to do when life gets hectic. It's a gentle refuge for my mind. I grasp at it in the hopes of clutching calm, and gaining a soothed mind. The Odyssey (Ὀδύσσεια) is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homeros. The Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC and focuses mainly on the hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca, and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years of perilous journeying to reach his beloved Ithaca again.

In the Odysseia, Homeros describes the intense longing to be with someone who has departed, in this case Odysseus tells the story of how he spoke to the ghost of his mother and lamented that he wished to hold her. It rang true for me yesterday, at least the part about longing. That's why I'm sharing it with you today.

“So she spoke but as I pondered this in my thoughts,
I wanted to clutch the soul of my departed mother.
Three times I reached out as my heart urged me to embrace her,
And three times she drifted from my hands like a shadow
Ora dream. The grief in my heart only grew sharper
And I spoke to her, uttering winged words.
“Mother, why don’t you wait as I come to hold you,
So we may even in Hades throw our arms around another
And have our fill together of cruel grief?
Or is it that dread Persephone sends only this ghost to me
So I may groan, grieving still more?”
So I spoke and my lady mother responded right away:
“Oh, my child, most ill-fated of all men,
Zeus’ daughter Persephone does not allow you things,
This is the law of mortals whenever they die.
We possess no tendons, flesh or bones—
Those things the strong force of burning fire
Consumed, and when the spirit first leaves its white bones,
The soul flits about and flies like a dream.”
[Odyssey 11.204-222]

The ancient Hellenes believed in ghosts; they were the people who could not find the entrance to the Underworld or who didn't have the money to pay Kharon for their passage. Those who were not properly buried were also doomed to wander the Earth for a hundred years. Interestingly enough, Hellenic heroes were also considered ghosts and were honored in the same type of rites as other types of ghosts. These ghosts, like Odysseus' mother, were summoned from the underworld with libations of animal blood, milk and honey, undiluted red wine, and water.

It's a scary world we live in today, isn't it? I long for quiet and safety, for reassurance, like Odysseus longs for his mother. Reading Homeros gave me a little respite from reality and for that I will always be grateful.
Two news articles in a row, bad me. Sorry, life is busy and the news is interesting. I came across this bit of research yesterday: it seems that the ancient Hellenes may have built sacred or treasured sites deliberately on land previously affected by earthquake activity, according to a new study by the University of Plymouth.


Professor of Geoscience Communication Iain Stewart MBE, Director of the University’s Sustainable Earth Institute, has presented several BBC documentaries about the power of earthquakes in shaping landscapes and communities. Now he believes fault lines created by seismic activity in the Aegean region may have caused areas to be afforded special cultural status and, as such, led to them becoming sites of much celebrated temples and great cities.

Scientists have previously suggested Delphi, a mountainside complex once home to a legendary oracle, gained its position in Classical Greek society largely as a result of a sacred spring and intoxicating gases which emanated from a fault line caused by an earthquake.

But Professor Stewart believes Delphi may not be alone in this regard, and that other cities including Mycenae, Ephesus, Cnidus and Hierapolis may have been constructed specifically because of the presence of fault lines. Professor Stewart said:

"Earthquake faulting is endemic to the Aegean world, and for more than 30 years, I have been fascinated by the role earthquakes played in shaping its landscape. But I have always thought it more than a coincidence that many important sites are located directly on top of fault lines created by seismic activity. The Ancient Greeks placed great value on hot springs unlocked by earthquakes, but perhaps the building of temples and cities close to these sites was more systematic than has previously been thought."

In the study, published in Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, Professor Stewart says a correspondence of active faults and ancient cities in parts of Greece and western Turkey might not seem unduly surprising given the Aegean region is riddled with seismic faults and littered with ruined settlements.

But, he adds, many seismic fault traces in the region do not simply disrupt the fabric of buildings and streets, but run straight through the heart of the ancient settlements’ most sacred structures.
There are prominent examples to support the theory, such as in Delphi itself where a sanctuary was destroyed by an earthquake in 373BC only for its temple to be rebuilt directly on the same fault line.
There are also many tales of individuals who attained oracular status by descending into the underworld, with some commentators arguing that such cave systems or grottoes caused by seismic activity may have formed the backdrop for these stories. Professor Stewart concludes:

“I am not saying that every sacred site in ancient Greece was built on a fault line. But while our association with earthquakes nowadays is that they are all negative, we have always known that in the long run they give more than they take away. The ancient Greeks were incredibly intelligent people and I believe they would have recognised this significance and wanted their citizens to benefit from the properties they created.”
Conservation, restoration and integration works have been initiated for the Hellenistic towers in the ancient city of Perge in the southern province of Antalya in Turkey. The work was carried out by the Antalya Directorate of Surveying and Monuments.


Perge (Perga in Greek) was once a very important city in the region of Pamphylia and the ancient ruins of Perge are located about 18 km east of Antalya near the town of Aksu, Turkey. It was an important city originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. Perge is located near the Kestros River and was originally a port city on a major trade route. Perga was a wealthy Greek city during the Hellenistic period, however, when the whole bay area silted up, that ended Perga’s port city status and sea trade.

The Hellenistic towers, Perge’s most significant structure, is one of the remaining pre-Roman structures at the site. It dates back to the 3rd century BC, this gate, consisting of two towers with a horse-shoe shaped court behind them, was clearly designed according to the defensive strategy of the day.

Restoration of the gigantic towers began in 2002 by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Within the scope of the restoration project, Prota provided damage assessment, seismic assessment, in-situ drawings, restitution and restoration and retrofitting designs for the Hellenistic Towers in Perge antique site. The towers were taken under protection in 2007 with the steel construction method, in order to prevent the stones from falling, or a possible collapse.

Antalya Surveying and Monuments Director Cemil Karabayram states that the tender has been finished for the restoration of the towers. The restoration project has a budget of 2.5 million Turkish Liras.

"Nearly 2,000 stones in the tower were classified. Now the proper stones will be used again in the restoration. The restoration will be complete in mid-2019. After the restoration, the steel frames will be removed from the towers. The stones were examined one by one and the project was approved by the relevant preservation board. At the moment, it is evident where most of the stones will go. When the work is complete, we will be able to open 70-80 percent of the Hellenistic towers for tourism. The project will be carried out under the consultancy of academics and scientists."
Near the end of the month of Boedromion, there was a singular sacrifice organized in Erkhia, a deme of Attica. It was held in honor of the river God Achelous, his intended wife ('alochos') Deianeira, the Nymphs, Hermes, and Gaea. We will be holding a PAT ritual for this sacrifice on the 18th of September, at 10 AM EDT.


In Hellenic mythology, Achelous (Ἀχελῷος Achelōios) is the patron deity of the 'silver-swirling' Achelous River, which is the largest river of Greece, and thus the chief of all river deities. His name is pre-Hellenic, its meaning unknown. His parents are generally believed to be Tethys and Okeanos. Very few of the river Gods have mythology about Them, but Achelous was featured heavily in the legends surrounding the hero Hēraklēs. In fact, we believe the origins for this sacrifice lie exactly there. The myth goes as follows:

Achelous, God of the most powerfully flowing river in Hellas, fell in love with the daughter of the king who ruled the land along the river. Deianeira, daughter of Oeneus king of Calydon came to age as the most beautiful woman in the land. For her hand, her father announced a contest: the strongest of her suitors would win her. Achelous, as a God, was by far the strongest in the region and was sure He would win her. But Hēraklēs had also heard of her beauty so in the end it came down to the two of them.

Hēraklēs was the strongest mortal in the world, but Achelous, being a God, had some advantages over him. He could change his shape at will. He could become a snake that curved like the winding river. He could become a bull that roared like the roaring river. And when He was a bull He could tear the very earth with His massive horns, just as the river carved away the land when it overflowed its banks. Even in the shape of a man, He had the horns of the bull on His head.

The fight was terrible. Achelous thrashed and fought Hēraklēs in all his shapes. When Hēraklēs pinned him, he became a snake and slithered loose. But Hēraklēs gripped him again and this time Achelous tried to shake free by changing into a bull. He bucked and raged, but Hēraklēs drove his horns into the Earth and with a mighty heave, he tore one off. Achelous howled and was forced to submit. As such, Hēraklēs won the match and won Deianeira's hand in marriage. And the people of Calydon won as well as the Nymphs hollowed out the horn and good Earth fills it with all the fruits and vegetables of the harvest. It became the Cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty.

This sacrifice, timed well with the reaping of the final fruits of the Earth before winter, includes all involved with the myth: Gaea's inclusion, as the source of all the fruits of harvest, speaks for Herself, Achelous (as the largest, life giving, river) was included because of His waters and the myth of the Cornucopia. That myth included his intended wife Deianeira and the manifestations of Achelous as the sacred bull, the serpent and the Minotaur--all creatures associated with Gaea. Because of their close connection to water, a fertilizing element, and the creation of the Cornucopia itself, the Nymphs were worshiped as daimons of fertility and vegetation. Hermes, as the Bringer of All that is Good helped bridge the divide between myth and humanity.

We hope you join us for this event on Facebook, and the ritual can be found here.
The world is nuts, ladies and gentlemen, and sometimes I need a little ancient wisdom to help me through the crazy. Epictetus (Ἐπίκτητος) was a Greek-speaking Stoic philosopher who lived from 55 – 135 AD. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in north-western Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses and Enchiridion.

Epictetus' primary philosophical lesson was that philosophy is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. In short: a true Stoic. In 'Discourses' Epictetus' views come to light best, and I would like to share some of his wise words about power today.


"Of the things which are in our Power, and not in our Power

Of all the faculties, you will find not one which is capable of contemplating itself; and, consequently, not capable either of approving or disapproving. How far does the grammatic art possess the contemplating power? As far as forming a judgement about what is written and spoken. And how far music? As far as judging about melody. Does either of them then contemplate itself? By no means. But when you must write something to your friend, grammar will tell you what words you must write; but whether you should write or not, grammar will not tell you. And so it is with music as to musical sounds; but whether you should sing at the present time and play on the lute, or do neither, music will not tell you. What faculty then will tell you? That which contemplates both itself and all other things. And what is this faculty? The rational faculty; for this is the only faculty that we have received which examines itself, what it is, and what power it has, and what is the value of this gift, and examines all other faculties: for what else is there which tells us that golden things are beautiful, for they do not say so themselves? Evidently it is the faculty which is capable of judging of appearances. What else judges of music, grammar, and other faculties, proves their uses and points out the occasions for using them? Nothing else.

As then it was fit to be so, that which is best of all and supreme over all is the only thing which the gods have placed in our power, the right use of appearances; but all other things they have not placed in our power. Was it because they did not choose? I indeed think that, if they had been able, they would have put these other things also in our power, but they certainly could not. For as we exist on the earth, and are bound to such a body and to such companions, how was it possible for us not to be hindered as to these things by externals?

But what says Zeus? "Epictetus, if it were possible, I would have made both your little body and your little property free and not exposed to hindrance. But now be not ignorant of this: this body is not yours, but it is clay finely tempered. And since I was not able to do for you what I have mentioned, I have given you a small portion of us, this faculty of pursuing an object and avoiding it, and the faculty of desire and aversion, and, in a word, the faculty of using the appearances of things; and if you will take care of this faculty and consider it your only possession, you will never be hindered, never meet with impediments; you will not lament, you will not blame, you will not flatter any person."

"Well, do these seem to you small matters?" I hope not. "Be content with them then and pray to the gods." But now when it is in our power to look after one thing, and to attach ourselves to it, we prefer to look after many things, and to be bound to many things, to the body and to property, and to brother and to friend, and to child and to slave. Since, then, we are bound to many things, we are depressed by them and dragged down. For this reason, when the weather is not fit for sailing, we sit down and torment ourselves, and continually look out to see what wind is blowing. "It is north." What is that to us? "When will the west wind blow?" When it shall choose, my good man, or when it shall please AEolus; for God has not made you the manager of the winds, but AEolus. What then? We must make the best use that we can of the things which are in our power, and use the rest according to their nature. What is their nature then? As God may please.

"Must I, then, alone have my head cut off?" What, would you have all men lose their heads that you may be consoled? Will you not stretch out your neck as Lateranus did at Rome when Nero ordered him to be beheaded? For when he had stretched out his neck, and received a feeble blow, which made him draw it in for a moment, he stretched it out again. And a little before, when he was visited by Epaphroditus, Nero's freedman, who asked him about the cause of offense which he had given, he said, "If I choose to tell anything, I will tell your master."

What then should a man have in readiness in such circumstances? What else than "What is mine, and what is not mine; and permitted to me, and what is not permitted to me." I must die. Must I then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment? "Tell me the secret which you possess." I will not, for this is in my power. "But I will put you in chains." Man, what are you talking about? Me in chains? You may fetter my leg, but my will not even Zeus himself can overpower. "I will throw you into prison." My poor body, you mean. "I will cut your head off." When, then, have I told you that my head alone cannot be cut off? These are the things which philosophers should meditate on, which they should write daily, in which they should exercise themselves.

Thrasea used to say, "I would rather be killed to-day than banished to-morrow." What, then, did Rufus say to him? "If you choose death as the heavier misfortune, how great is the folly of your choice? But if, as the lighter, who has given you the choice? Will you not study to be content with that which has been given to you?"

What, then, did Agrippinus say? He said, "I am not a hindrance to myself." When it was reported to him that his trial was going on in the Senate, he said, "I hope it may turn out well; but it is the fifth hour of the day"- this was the time when he was used to exercise himself and then take the cold bath- "let us go and take our exercise." After he had taken his exercise, one comes and tells him, "You have been condemned." "To banishment," he replies, "or to death?" "To banishment." "What about my property?" "It is not taken from you." "Let us go to Aricia then," he said, "and dine."

This it is to have studied what a man ought to study; to have made desire, aversion, free from hindrance, and free from all that a man would avoid. I must die. If now, I am ready to die. If, after a short time, I now dine because it is the dinner-hour; after this I will then die. How? Like a man who gives up what belongs to another."

I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

"Are there any sources for Greek holidays? Did they celebrate Sabbats and Equinoxes like other pagans of their time? I've found a few but they're mostly Roman and I'm looking for specifically Greek if that's possible. Thank you in advance."

A solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year (around 21 June and 21 December) as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. An equinox occurs twice a year as well (around 20 March and 22 September), when the plane of the Earth's equator passes the center of the Sun. At this time the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun. In essence, during an equinox, the period of time the sun is down (night time) and the sun is up (daytime) is roughly the same. The ancient Hellenes observed these four points in the year, and because of that, the ancient Hellenic calendar is partly solar: the solstices and equinoxes are anchor points for the otherwise lunar calendar.

Depending on the city-state, one of these four points was picked for the start of the new year. Athens and Delphi had the summer solstice, Boeotia had the winter solstice, and Milet started out with the autumnal equinox, but moved the new year to the spring equinox around the end of the 4th century BC. This anchor point was the most important; the rest were used to check the accuracy of the calculations.

Is it reconstructionistic to honor specific Gods on the solstices and equinoxes? That depends on which Gods you honor on the equinoxes and solstices. We know there were festivals celebrated on or around the time of these anchor points:

The Galaxia was closely associated with the Spring/Vernal Equinox.
The Kronia was closely associated with the Summer Solstice.
The Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated around the autumnal Equinox.
The Poseidea was closely associated with the Winter Solstice.


~~~

"You're doing the Eleusinian Mysteries! I want to take part but I am still practicing and I missed a few days, is that bad? I see the first few are about purification, can I spend extra focus on my usual purification and catch up that way? How about the others I missed?"

You can totally still jump in with the Mysteries! You were right, you can conflate the purification rites with your standard practice (maybe focus on it a bit more) and either leave out or do one after the other the other rituals you've missed. May I suggest you don't consider this a practice period? You will never be faulted for mistakes you make unknowingly. What you are doing is honoring the Theoi, and you either honor Them or you don't. There is no "practice" or "in-between". You either do, or you don't, and you do! That's wonderful! Take pride and joy in that.

~~~

"What advice do you have for someone who is just getting into Hellenismos and also going to be attending college this fall."

That depends on what you're worried about, I suppose. Will you be lacking privacy? Are there rules that you have to stick to in order to continue living where you will be living, be it a dorm or an off-campus site? Perhaps this will help: a list of what you need to practice and the substitutes allowed anywhere and which you can hide.

An altar to sacrifice at = use your desk or clear a table
A sacrificial bowl (x2, one to sacrifice into, one for khernips) = deep plates or soup bowls
Candles = electric candles or unlit ones
Incense = perfume (keep away from fire!)
Wine = grape juice
A garden to pour out libations / bury sacrifices = a potted plant

That's all you need, really. Usually you can light a match even in a dorm room, so you should be able to make khernips by dropping a match into water. Most likely you won't be able to have a fire burning to burn sacrifices in. Sadly, that's just how it'll have to be until you get out. Practicing without a fire is a reality for many people until they have a home where it's possible to safely and legally practice that way. Some never will, and that's all right too. I hope this helps and good luck at college!

Created by the inhabitants of the ancient city of Athens and its surrounding region, Attica, stone inscriptions are the most numerous surviving written documents of a city that has made a lasting impact on Western civilization. All the stone inscriptions from ancient Athens in UK collections are to be made public in English translations for the first time, thanks to a new project led by Cardiff University.


Providing evidence of the first major Western democracy in action, and often decorated with relief sculpture, some of the inscriptions reveal in detail decisions made more than two millennia ago by the Athenian citizen Assembly and other bodies. Others are a rich source of information about the lives of ancient Athenians, from financial accounts and leases, to dedications to the gods and funerary monuments.

Among the inscriptions is the well-known stele of Jason held in the British Museum. The 2nd century AD monument is a dedication to the healing god Asklepios by the doctor, Jason, and his family, and depicts a doctor examining an anxious patient. Another is a fascinating 2nd century BC decree of the Athenian Assembly in Petworth House honoring a long list of Athenian girls who helped weave the peplos, a garment ritually draped over the ancient wooden statue of Athena on the acropolis.

Attic Inscriptions in UK collections, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will publish all 250 inscriptions from ancient Athens and Attica held in UK collections, in collaboration with museums across the UK. Spanning nearly a millennium of history from the 6th century BC to 3rd century AD, the inscriptions will be published in open access on the website Attic Inscriptions Online created by, Dr Stephen Lambert of Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

Most of the Attic inscriptions in the UK are housed in the British Museum in London, but numerous smaller collections, such as those at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and in several country houses, such as Petworth, will also feature in the project, as well as those at the British School at Athens.

The four-year £0.5m project will also produce new materials designed to enhance use of these inscriptions in teaching at secondary level, both virtually and via visits to the collections themselves.
Leading the UK project team, inscriptions expert Dr Stephen Lambert said:

"The last major edition of the Attic inscriptions in the British Museum appeared in 1874. We plan to publish them online in a series of 17 papers, each covering an individual collection or, for the British Museum, category of inscriptions. Based on the most up-to-date scholarly bibliography, supplemented by fresh autopsy of the stones, and supported by photographs, the papers will include ancient Greek texts, translations and commentaries on each inscription. The scholarly papers will be linked to translations on Attic Inscriptions Online, with notes aimed at school and university students and museum visitors."

Dr Polly Low and Dr Peter Liddel of Manchester University, who are collaborating on the project, added:

“We are excited that the project will not only benefit scholars worldwide, but will make these fascinating insights into the Classical world more accessible and engaging for school and University students and the wider public visiting our great UK museums.”
The polis (πόλις) literally means "city" in Greek. The plural is "poleis" (πόλεις). It's almost synonymous with "city-state": a sovereign state, also described as a type of small independent country, that usually consists of a single city and its dependent territories. Athens was one, for example, as was Sparta.

In the ancient world, the polis was a nucleus, the central urban area that could also have controlled the surrounding countryside, which were usually part of the polis. These outskirts were called usually called "Khôra" (χώρα). There were around 1500 archaic and classical Hellenic poleis. Many of them are listed here. The region formed by a cluster of poleis, bound geographically and ethnically, was an ethnos (ἔθνος, nation). Its plural is "ethne."

The Ancient Hellenic city-state developed during the Archaic period as the ancestor of city, state, and citizenship and persisted (though with decreasing influence) well into Roman times. The term polis, which in archaic Greece meant "city", changed with the development of the governance center in the city to signify "state" (which included its surrounding villages). Finally, with the emergence of a notion of citizenship among landowners, it came to describe the entire body of citizens. The ancient Hellenes did not always refer to Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and other poleis as such; they often spoke instead of the Athenians, Lacedaemonians, Thebans and so on. The body of citizens came to be the most important meaning of the term polis in ancient Hellas.

Plato analyzes the polis in The Republic, whose Greek title, Πολιτεία (Politeia), itself derives from the word polis. The best form of government of the polis for Plato is the one that leads to the common good. According to Plato, there are five main economic classes of any polis: producers, merchants, sailors/shipowners, retail traders, and wage earners. Along with the two principles and five economic classes, there are four virtues. The four virtues of a "just city" include, wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. With all of these principles, classes, and virtues, it was believed that a "just city" (polis) would exist.

Derivatives of polis are common in many modern European languages. This is indicative of the influence of the polis-centred Hellenic world view. Derivative words in English include policy, polity, police, and politics. In Greek, words deriving from polis include politēs and politismos, whose exact equivalents in Latin, Romance, and other European languages, respectively civis ("citizen"), civilisatio ("civilization"), etc., are similarly derived.
Τhe Archaeology Sector at the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology of the University of Thessaly announces the results of regular excavations at the ancient city of Kythnos (today’s Vryokastro) earlier this year (26/5-5/8). The excavations have yielded particularly significant findings.
Significant new findings on Greek island of Kythnos
Head of a bearded figure (Asklepios or Serapis) 

The excavation of two Classical-Hellenistic monument buildings that had started in 2016 has been completed. The southern Building 1, measuring 17.40 x 11.50 meters, which was also used in the Roman period, is divided into two rooms sharing a single portico (NW) with a Doric colonnade (this year, an entire column capital made of shelly stone was found at the bottom of the adjacent ancient cistern, probably from this gallery).

At the northern part of Room A, a pebbled floor is preserved, as well as part of the elevated circular stripe for placing daybeds. As a small researching incision at the north-western corner of the site indicated the initial floor here was about 1 meter lower but we do not know yet whether it was also pebbled. Also, many fragments of a second floor found in the cistern, decorated with black pebbles forming geometric shapes, cannot be attributed to the later floor at which only white pebbles were used.

There is of course a possibility that this unidentified decorated pebbled floor comes from Room C, bordering to the south. Indeed, the upper floor of Room C has been corroded and is not preserved. Yet, at the rear part of it the solid rectangular sub-foundation of a pedestal has been uncovered, measuring 1.20x0.80 metres, probably aiming to host a cult statue. This pedestal is associated to the 2nd (Roman) phase of the site, when the prostyle single gallery of the building was no longer standing and at the southern half of the portico an informal hall was created with an entrance at the south. It seems that at that time a new threshold was placed to access Room C, about a metre higher than the initial floor of the area, off-centred to the central axis of the room but right across the pedestal of the cult statue.

At the south-eastern corner of Building 1 there is an attached pear-shaped cistern, cut into the existing rock. This year, with the contribution of volunteering speleologists from the SPELEO and HEIRON associations the inside of the cistern was thoroughly investigated; it is over 7.50 meters deep and 6.80 meters wide at the broadest part of its floor.

It included large quantities of sizeable stones, mixed with a bit of soil, as well as numerous mobile findings, mainly stelae and sculptures made of marble. The findings inside the cistern comprise, among other things, ceramic figurines of female and child figures, multi nozzle oil lamps, a fragment of a kernos from Eleusis and the following marble sculptures from the late Classical-Hellenistic years: two heads of girls, two torsos of naked boys, the head of a bearded figure (Asclepius or Serapis), and a small Hekataion.

These findings certify that the building is associated to the worshiping of Asclepius, as we had suggested last year, on the grounds of the finding inside the cistern of a Roman inscribed cippus with the name of the god. Parts of marble votive stelae were also found inside the cistern this year, some bearing inscriptions. One of them is about an offering to Aphrodite Derceto (Atargatis).

The worshipping of Aphrodite at the particular site had been previously assumed, mainly due to the presence here of a marble statue, previously attributed by P. Themelis to Damophon, the sculptor from Messene. The theory was confirmed by the aforementioned inscription, as well as by a headless marble Hellenistic figurine of a semi-nude Aphrodite found this year at the destruction layer at the base of the western protecting wall of this building.

Based therefore on this year’s findings, Building 1 should be associated with the worshipping of Asclepius as well as Aphrodite. Inscriptions testifying the worshipping of Gods from Samothrace have also been found in the area. Last but not least, inside the cistern, towards the deeper strata of the land filling that has been excavated, two human femoral bones have been found, their dating remaining unclear so far.

To the east of the façade of Building 1, the area of the altar has been investigated anew (preserved length 6.20 meters, width 2.85 meters). The altar seems to have been restricted within the limits of the northern half of the building, although we assume it also served the worshipping of other deities at the temple.

Building 2, to the north (fig. 2 on the left, fig. 15), measuring 20.20x8 meters, has four square rooms opening to a long narrowing corridor. The building must have had at least two entries from the east. At a second phase, however, the inside of the portico was also accessed from the north as well as the south through built-in tiers.

Unfortunately the floors of use in the building have been totally corroded; however, investigation of the breccia landfill beneath them has yielded significant findings this year, ranging from the Geometric to the Hellenistic years, confirming that Building 2 was constructed in the Hellenistic times.

Another important discovery is that the abutment starting at the north-eastern corner of the building ends at Abutment 4 and the sanctuary of Apollo and Artemis, dozens of meters to the north (fig. 16 in the background), confirming that it is a massive building project of monuments along the sea-front, with sacred and public spaces of the Ano Polis in this period.

The exact use of Building 2, though, cannot be clarified until the mobile findings associated with its use have been conserved and studied (including ceramic figurines, lead weights, trade amphorae and many fragments of relief skyphoi).

Research at a 4-metre wide stripe between the two buildings uncovered the terraced slope to the plateau of the sanctuaries, which leads to a simple propylon. The area underwent an important intervention in the Roman years, when burning soil, with many animal bones and ceramics (mainly oil lamps from the Hellenistic-Roman years), probably from the area of the altar, were accumulated there and access was created with the tiers at the north-western corner of Building 2. Similar terraced accesses to the plateau were uncovered along the southern side of Building 1 as well as the northern side of Building 1.

Finally, within a few meters to the east of Building 2, during a trial research of two squares, a part of an older abutment wall was uncovered, built with unprocessed stones, running along Building 2, which is probably associated to the older phase of the site, in the Geometric-Classical years.

To conclude, consolidation and conservation of the excavated monuments of the ancient city has begun, starting from the temple of Apollo and Artemis (excavation 2002-2006), in close collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades.

With the research at the particular site of the Ano Polis on Kythnos island the two areas are now spatially connected to some of the most significant sanctuaries of the island. It should be reminded that a few meters to the north in the period 2002-2006 a particularly important temple was excavated, which would operate from the 7th century BC to the 1st century BC – 1st century AD, with an unlooted sanctum containing numerous valuable votive offerings. It was probably a sanctuary for Apollo and Artemis.

To the south of the Asklepieion and the Afroditieion stretches the Acropolis with its sanctuaries waiting to be uncovered; the sanctuary of Demeter, identified through surface findings, seems to have held a preeminent place among the Acropolis sanctuaries. We hope that these zones are finally expropriated and become an archaeological site open to the public, in combination to the displays at the new archaeological museum of the island, which last year became part of the NSRF and is being constructed by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades.

The excavation on Kythnos was conducted by the Archaeology Sector of the University of Thessaly, under the direction of the professor of Classical Archaeology Alexandros Mazarakis Ainian, in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades. Apart from the aforementioned institutions, research was financially supported by the Secretariat General for the Aegean and Island Policy of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries; the Southern Aegean Region; the Municipality of Kythnos; and mainly by the generous sponsor Mr Athanasios Martinos.

For many, many, many more pictures of these finds, visit the Archaeological News Network.
Two days ago, I drove down the highway in busy traffic. It was a two-lane road, 80 mp/h (130 km/h) speed limit--which we were all more or less driving--and pretty decent weather. It was the last leg of an hour long drive and I'd gotten to the point of singing along to the radio loudly while minding the world around me leisurely.

Then the driver of the car in front of me drove straight into the back of the truck in front of him and all hell broke loose. Everyone swerved, hot the brakes or otherwise tried to avoid the spinning vehicle. I don't quite remember how, but I ended up in the grass by the side of the road. I managed to avoid the spinning car (by inches, probably) and whoever was driving behind me, managed to avoid me too.

I was okay.

Thankfully, the driver of the crashed car was all right too. Shaken, sure, and angry but okay. Not a scratch on him. His car was beyond repair, though, and the truck was minus a taillight and a piece of its rear bumper.

We got the car off the road and cleaned up the debris that had spun off every whichaway. Cars slowly passed us, then sped up as both lanes became available again. Eventually, I left the driver to call a tow.


You can be sure I thanked (all Gods but especially) Hermes and Hekate as guardians of travelers that night and yesterday morning! I could have hit that car full-on, I could have smashed into the guardrail if there had been one, the driver could have been dead, we could have been hit standing on the side of the road.

We were all okay.

Thank the Gods!

Faithful readers will know how much I adore any news about the Parthenon Marbles. The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles, is a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin obtained a controversial permit from the Ottoman authorities to remove pieces from the Parthenon while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803. In a recent interview with noted British archaeologist Andrew Colin Renfrew, he discussed the possibilities and stipulations of a possible return.


An agreement between the world's museums to stop buying or accepting ancient artifacts obtained in dubious ways would be the best way to protect the world's antiquities from being looted for profit, Renfrew said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) published on Saturday. On the return of the Parthenon Sculptures at the British Museum to Greece, Lord Renfrew said he was in favour of their return eventually but only as part of a general agreement that stipulated which antiquities should be returned to their countries of origin and which should not.

"The reason why I think that it would be right, in the long run, to return the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens is that they belong to a specific building that is still standing," he said.

Even though the sculptures would not be placed on the Parthenon itself, the New Acropolis Museum had done an excellent job in presenting the authentic sculptures in such a way that one could simultaneously view the real Acropolis from the windows.

"I believe, however, that there must be an international agreement. We do not want to see the museums of the world emptied of their contents. The case, however, for returning sculptures to the monuments where they belong is truly very strong."

Renfrew was dismissive, however, of occasional efforts made by celebrities, such as actor George Clooney, to support the case for the sculptures' return and generate publicity surrounding the issue.

"I do not believe that sort of publicity helps, as I did not agree with the way that Melina Mercouri handled the issue...It is preferable if governments make serious efforts and encourage museums to draw up international agreements concerning cases involving antiquities."

He was similarly dismissive of suggestions that the Parthenon Marbles return could be linked with Brexit in any way, noting that the two issues were entirely unrelated. Asked about his impressions from his early days in Greece, when antiquities were being routinely smuggled out of the country, Renfrew agreed that the museum's of the world were "full of Cycladic material, which was almost always exported illegally from Greece." He underlined the great damage done and especially the valuable information lost as a result, even if these finds eventually found their way to a museum somewhere. Asked about the reasons why the practice was so hard to stop, Renfrew was clear:

"It is the money, plain and simple. Cycladic idols and other sculptures, vases and objects from prehistory and the early history of the world are sold at auction in every part of the world. And, as you know, Cycladic idols can be sold for millions of dollars. Given the great incentives and the difficulty of policing the finds, there is no easy solution to the problem. I believe the main one is that museums agree not to buy and to not accept as gifts antiquities that have been exported illegally from their country of origin after 1970, the year set down by the UNESCO convention. If this convention is really followed, then I believe the prices of antiquities in markets and at auction will fall, because demand will be lower...though private collectors will continue to buy them. Unfortunately, we are not near such an agreement."

While this practice was adopted by the largest museums in the world, new museums emerging in Japan and the Middle East did not have a clear ethical policy and still paid large sums for antiquities, while the same problem occurred with antiquities from Mexico and South America.

The interview also talked about the 80-year-old archaeologist's lengthy career in the field and his work on the Greek island of Keros, on the remains of what he considers to be the oldest known island sanctuary in the world so far. Explaining his claims about the Keros sanctuary, Renfrew said that the majority of sanctuaries having symbolic or religious importance had been found on the mainland, such as Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, which was very far from the sea.

"We have good carbon dating from our digs in Dhaskalio, the small island next to Keros that was probably linked by a land bridge in prehistoric times (circa 2500 BC)...the Dhaskalio settlement is the oldest on Keros so far, probably starting in 2700 BC and continuing until 2000 BC when it was abandoned."

Archaeologists were currently trying to piece together the mystery behind the sanctuary on Keros, which was full of fragments of broken Cycladic figurines that appeared to have been brought there after they were broken elsewhere, Renfrew said.

"We have done a lot of research on this; we have found some pieces that are connected but very few. Roughly 10 pct can be joined with others, mostly a leg with a foot, but not much else. For this reason we say that they must have been broken elsewhere...our conclusion is that they must have broken on their islands, where the figurines were in use, and the parts brought to Kavos on Keros."
There are a lot of terrible things happening all around the globe, but as a group, we have decided to donate to the situation in Texas this month. Terrible floods have wreaked havoc there and we like grass root initiatives to help make things a little better. This month it's the restaurant Guerilla Gourmet and its owner James Canter.


When Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm, it left thousands of Crossroads residents without water or power. James Canter started cooking and he hasn't stopped. He owns the Guerrilla Gourmet restaurant located on the first floor of the Victoria Advocate. He has cooked food for more than 30 years.

Canter, 45, wasted no time getting his staff together to begin serving free meals to anyone who showed up at the restaurant. All he asked is that the customers pay what they could or wanted to, with the donations going to the cause. In a five-day span, Canter and his staff fed more than 4,000 people in the Crossroads.

Canter encourages those who are hungry or without food to stop by the restaurant at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. According to Canter:

"Food is our common thread as a race. Food brings people together. Just seeing the smiles of what a simple bowl of soup can bring is incredible. As long as there are people who need food and comfort, we're going to give it to them. We're in it for the long haul."

Funds raised will go towards providing meals to ground crews and anyone that needs a hot meal in hurricane-stricken Victoria.

The deadline to donate is September 20th, 2017. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the Pandora's Kharis website or by donating directly to baring.the.aegis@gmail.com. Thank you in advance!
Many people--myself included--sometimes forget how extensive the ancient Hellenic empire was. It wasn't just what is now modern Greece. It extended all the way down to, for example, Turkey. Today: Lagina (and Stratonkeia).


Just a few kilometers away from modern day Yatağan in Turkey are the ruins of the ancient city of Lagina (Λαγίνα), which is famous for its Hekate Sanctuary. The establishment of the sanctuary at Lagina as a religious center dates back to the Seleucids but evidence from the necropolis implies that the origins of the settlement go back to the 7th century BC. Seleucid kings conducted a considerable reconstruction effort in the sacred ground of Lagina and transformed it into a foremost religious center of its time, with the nearby (at a distance of 11 kilometers) site of Stratonikeia becoming the administrative center. The sites of Lagina and Stratonkeia were connected to each other in antiquity by an 11 km long road called the Sacred Way (ceremonial road).

The sanctuary consisted in its center of the famous Temple of Hekate. It was bordered by a wide temenos (the sacred area around a temple) surrounded by a stoa (a covered walkway) in the Doric order. The entrance was a propylaea (monumental gateway) with a semicircular colonnade at the front. A stairway with ten steps led from the propylaea to a paved way and then to the altar.

The Temple of Hekate, dated to the last quarter of the 2nd century AD, measured 21m x 28m and was built in the Corinthian order with 8 columns on its shorter sides and 11 columns on its longer sides. A frieze covered all four sides of the building. The reliefs are exhibited in the Istanbul Archaeology Museums and bear representations from the Greek and Carian (the ancient inhabitants of Caria in southwest Anatolia) mythology; scenes from the life of Zeus could be seen on the eastern frieze, the Gigantomachy (a battle between the Gods and giants) on the western frieze; on the southern frieze a gathering of Carian gods, and on the northern frieze the Amazonomachy, a battle between the Amazons and the Greeks.

Numerous festivals were celebrated at the site during which a procession delivered the key of the temple from Lagina to the bouleuterion in Stratonkeia on which the rules of the religious celebrations of Hekate were written.
A well-preserved Roman mosaic, described as the "most exciting" discovery in decades, has been uncovered in Berkshire by a local community archaeology dig. It features many scenes from Hellenic mythology.


The mosaic, dated from around the 4th century AD, features Bellerophon, a Hellenic hero, riding the winged horse Pegasus. The panel shows a scene where they attack the fire-breathing monster Chimera. As a reward for killing the beast which had a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail, Pegasus was offered the King Iobates' daughter, Philonoe. The myth would later form the basis of the St George and the dragon legend in Christian times. Joy Appleton from the Boxford History Project told The Independent:

"I was stunned. It’s an amazing mosaic with so many figures. There is every Greek mythical figure found on a British site. The owner of the Roman villa in which the mosaic was found, wanted to display his knowledge as there are so many characters and beasts from Greek mythology."

Among the most spectacular scenes is Hercules killing a centaur, possibly Nessus, whose poisoned blood later caused the death of Hercules. Other illustrative elements on the mosaic contain scenes previously unknown on other UK sites, said archaeological experts. Anthony Beeson, a member of the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics, described the find as:

"[...] without question the most exciting mosaic discovery made in Britain in the last fifty years and must take a premier place amongst those Romano-British works of art that have come down to modern Britons."

Luigi Thompson, who visited the site and is known for his paintings of mosaics said:

"If I had the choice of only doing one painting in my career, it would be this one. It is the most delightful, lively and charming pavement I have ever seen. It causes me to imagine, with pleasure, the villa owner entertaining his guests with his knowledge of classical mythology."

Less than half the mosaic, a six-meter strip richly patterned with mythical characters, was uncovered in the last two weeks. It has now been buried again to protect it. The dig volunteers, some without previous experience of working on archaeological sites, are hoping to fundraise for another excavation next year.
The Epidauria was a festival of Asklēpiós placed smack in the middle of the Mysteries--exactly six months after the other major festival of Asklēpiós in Athens: the one during the Greater Dionysia. The day was named after Asklēpiós' healing centre to the south at Epidauros. It was said that on this day, the cult of Asklepios and Hygeia joined the Eleusinian Mysteries rites in Athens.


What, exactly, happened during the Epidauria is unclear as discussing the rites that took place at Eleusis carried a death sentence, but I think we can safely say that the rites at Eleusis involving Asklēpiós were most likely similar to the rites to Asklēpiós that took place at other places--including Epidauros. What we do know is that the evening rites of sacrifices were held at Demeter’s Eleusinion temple in Athens to honor Asklēpiós, His daughter Hygeia, and Demeter and Persephone, who also were revered as healing deities. Special blessings were invoked for doctors and healers, and perhaps healing practices were offered at Demeter’s Eleusinion temple.

Then started the part that we have to guestimate by way of other practices involving Asklēpiós. Asklēpiós' worship almost always included a 'night watch'; a night time period of meditation and contemplation at a temple to Asklēpiós; the Asklepion. During the Mysteries, the initiates would most likely sit, contemplate, and cleanse themselves of ailments, distress, and anything that might distract them form the proceedings to follow. The temple of Asklēpiós was built near the enclosure of a sacred spring in a small cave and it included an abaton, a sleeping hall sacred to Asklēpiós where initiates could sleep while watched over by priests of Asklēpiós who prayed to Asklēpiós to visit these initiates in their sleep and give them messages intended to heal and cleanse. The following morning, initiates would tell their dream to a priest of Asklēpiós or Hygeia, called 'therapeutes'. The initiate would then be encouraged to put the advice he or she had gotten into practice.

The Epidauria took place as a preparatory intermezzo: afterwards, the initiates were cleaned and focused, ready to be drawn further into the Mysteries. As these proceedings took place late at night, a certain lack of sleep might also occur, leaving the initiates more susceptible to the coming proceedings. Whatever the case, the initiates would soon be enveloped in the hectic but highly ritualized proceedings of the Mysteries, and likely feel far more ready--and worthy--to face them.

In Athens, a separate ritual took place. The night of the 18th may have been spent by the very devout in sleeping in the Temple of Aesculapius, southwest of the Acropolis, or in the Iaccheum, also called the Temple of Demeter. It was just where the road from the Piraeus entered Athens. The early morning of that day till about 9 a.m. was devoted to ordinary business, as we find decrees issued bearing that date. After this hour the Epidauria was celebrated in the Temple of Demeter or Iacchus and in the Temple of Aesculapius.

For those who have decided to join the Eleusinian Mysteries, both a night watch and the daytime ritual are included in the rituals provided. For those not participating, a separate ritual will be held on the 18th of Boedromion, which is on 8 September this year. You can find this separate ritual here and join the community here.
One of those days, people... one of those days... I'm going to have to leave you with a bit of ancient text, and I want to broaden the horizon a little today by giving you one of the spells/prayers from the Papyri Graecae Magicae, also known as the 'Greek Magical Papyri'. They are a body of papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt, which each contain a number of magical spells, formulae, hymns and rituals. The materials in the papyri date from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD. The manuscripts came to light through the antiquities trade, from the 18th century onwards. As part of the papyri, spells for a variety of things were recorded. Two include prayers to Helios. I'd like to share those today.


Prayer to Helios: A charm to restrain anger and for victory and for securing favor
Instructions: Say to the Sun (Helios) seven times, and anoint your hand with oil and wipe it on your Head and Face.

"Rejoice with me, You who are set over the East Wind and the World, for whom all the Gods serve as Body-Guards at Your Good Hour and on Your Good Day, You who are the Good Daimon (God) of the World, the Crown of the Inhabited World, You who arise from the Abyss, You who Each Day rise a Young Man and set an Old Man. I beg You, Lord, do not allow me to be Over-Thrown, to be Plotted Against, to receive Dangerous Drugs, to go into Exile, to fall upon Hard Times. Rather, I ask to obtain and receive from You Life, Health, Reputation, Wealth, Influence, Strength, Success, Charm, Favor with all Men and all Women, Victory over all Men and all Women. Yes, Lord, accomplish this Matter which I want, by means of Your Power.”
[PGM XXXVI.211-30]

Spell to Helios: Consecration for All Purposes
“I invoke You, the Greatest God, Eternal Lord, World Ruler, who are over the World and under the World, Mighty Ruler of the Sea, rising at Dawn, shining from the East for the Whole World, setting in the West. Come to me, Thou who risest from the Four Winds, benevolent and lucky Agathos Daimon, for whom Heaven has become the Processional Way. I call upon Your Holy and Great and Hidden Names which You rejoice to hear. The Earth flourished when You shone forth, and the Plants became fruitful when you laughed; the Animals begat their Young when You permitted. Give Glory and Honor and Favor and Fortune and Power to this, NN, Stone which I consecrate today (or to the Phylactery [charm] being consecrated) for [or in relation to] NN. I invoke You, the greatest in Heaven, the Shining Helios, giving Light throughout the Whole World. You are the Great Serpent, Leader of all the Gods, who control the Beginning of Egypt and the End of the Whole Inhabited World, who mate in the Ocean. You are He who becomes Visible each Day and Sets in the Northwest of Heaven, and Rises in the Southeast.

In the 1st Hour You have the Form of a Cat.
Give Glory and Favor to this Phylactery.
In the 2nd Hour You have the Form of a Dog.
Give Strength and Honor to this Phylactery, or to this Stone, and to [name].
In the 3rd Hour You have the Form of a Serpent.
Give Honor to the God [name].
In the 4th Hour You have the Form of a Scarab.
Mightily strengthen this Phylactery in this Night, for the Work for which it is consecrated.
In the 5th Hour You have the Form of a Donkey.
Give Strength and Courage and Power to the God, [name].
In the 6th Hour You have the Form of a Lion, the Ruler of Time.
Give Success to this Phylactery and Glorious Victory.
In the 7th Hour You have the Form of a Goat.
Give Sexual Charm to this Ring (or to this Phylactery, or to this Engraving).
In the 8th Hour You have the Form of a Bull, who becomes visible everywhere.
Let all Things done by the use of this Stone be accomplished.
In the 9th Hour You have the Form of a Falcon, the Lotus Emerged From the Abyss.
Give Success and Good Luck to this Phylactery.
In the 10th Hour You have the Form of a Baboon.
[Prayer for gift omitted?]
In the 11th Hour You have the Form of an Ibis.
Protect this great Phylactery for Lucky Use by [name], from this Present Day for All Time.
In the 12th Hour You have the Form of a Crocodile.
[Prayer for gift omitted?]

You who have set at Evening as an Old Man, who are over the World and under the World, Mighty Ruler of the Sea, hear my Voice in this Present Day, in this Night, in these Holy Hours, and let all done by this Stone, or for this Phylactery, be brought to fulfillment, and especially NN matter for which I consecrate It. Please, Lord! I conjure Earth and Heaven and Light and Darkness and the Great God who created All, SAROUSIN, You, Agathon Daimon the Helper, to accomplish for me everything done by the Use of this Ring or Stone!”

When you complete the Consecration, say, “The one Zeus is Serapis!”
[PGM IV.1596-1715]
As a basic viewpoint, Elaion believes that the Mysteries need not be pursued; they are not a spiritual ‘formula’ that experimentation will eventually rediscover. That said, we also acknowledge that it's a festival many have been drawn to--both then and now--and we want to give our members a chance to celebrate it in a way that is as Recon as possible once you accept that we know far too little about it to ever accurately be so. Since the proceedings of the Eleusinian Mysteries were kept secret in fear of the punishment of death, we will never be able to restore these rites. But we do know a few basics and we have formulated our celebration accordingly. Please read through all information as well as the rituals before deciding to join.


The Eleusinian Mysteries (Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) had festivals throughout the year, which were tied to agriculture through Demeter's refusal to perform her duties as an agricultural Goddess while her daughter Persephone is with Hades, and to the afterlife and Underworld through Persephone's return to the surface of the earth after Her mandatory stay with Hades has ended. Initiation ceremonies were held every year at Eleusis. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, the mysteries at Eleusis were assumed to be of great importance to a large portion of the ancient Hellenes. The cult itself likely had origins dating back to the Mycenean period of around 1600 to 1100 BC, and it is believed that the cult of Demeter Herself was established in 1500 BC.

The Eleusinian Mysteries consist mostly of two festivals, but the worship of Demeter and Persephone consist of a cycle of seven festivals: the Greater Mysteries (13-23 Boedromion), the Proerosia (6 Pyanepsion), the Stenia (9 Pyanepsion), the Thesmophoria (11-13 Pyanepsion), the Haloa (26 Poseideon), the Lesser Mysteries (20-26 Anthesterion), and the Skiraphoria (12 Skirophorion). These are placed in sequence of the Athenian year.

Mythologically, the foundations of the Eleusinian Mysteries can be found in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Within the hymn, Demeter travels the globe in her grief over losing Her daughter. She eventually settles at the home of Keleus. Demeter plans to make one of his sons immortal in return for his hospitality but She is interrupted. Instead, she tells Keleus to build Her a temple and altar so she can teach human beings the knowledge they need to have a good life.

The Mysteries were obviously celebrated to honor Demeter--Demeter Eleusinia, specifically. Through the honoring of Demeter, the ancient Hellenes prayed for a good harvest, and through the worship of Persephone--Kore--those who were initiated in the Mysteries assured they would be looked upon favorably in the Afterlife.

For those who wish to join us, the Eleusinian Mysteries will be a ten day event, starting on September 17th with a rite meant to emulate the walk to Eleusis from Athens that all initiates eventually undertook. The procession would have started from the shine of Iakkhos, and Iakkhos was invited to come along to Eleusis by those in the procession. The mystai would sacrifice at all shrines along the way. The mystai would arrive in darkness, or at least guided by torchlight, as Demeter searched for Her daughter with a torch in hand. Upon arrival, sacrifices were made to Demeter. After undertaking this rite, we encourage everyone articipating to put on a króki. Króki were pieces of string (wool), worn around the wrist. The initiates of the Mysteries recieved yellow ones on the way to Eleusis.

For the continuation of the days, you can make daily sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone, as laid out in the rituals provided. All have a different character and different steps to undertake so reading through them ahead of time is quite important. While not mandatory, we also encourage those who join to potentially limit or cut out their intake of pomegranates, apples, eggs, fowls, and fish as the ancient Hellenes would have done for the duration of the Mysteries.

Then, we have prepared a rite for the Epidauria. The Epidauria was a festival of Asklepios placed smack in the middle of the Mysteries--exactly six months after the other major festival of Asklepios in Athens: the one during the Greater Dionysia. The day was named after Asklepios healing centre to the south at Epidauros. It was said that on this day, the cult of Asklepios and Hygeia joined the Eleusinian Mysteries rites in Athens.

What, exactly, happened during the Epidauria is unclear as discussing the rites that took place at Eleusis carried a death sentence, but I think we can safely say that the rites at Eleusis involving Asklepios were most likely similar to the rites to Asklepios that took place at other places--including Epidauros. What we do know is that the rites of sacrifices were held at Demeter’s Eleusinion temple in Athens to honour Asklepios, His daughter Hygeia, and Demeter and Persephone, who also were revered as healing deities.

Asklepios' worship almost always included a 'night watch'; a night time period of meditation and contemplation at a temple to Asklepios; the Asklepion. the initiates would most likely sit, contemplate, and cleanse themselves of ailments, distress, and anything that might distract them form the proceedings to follow. The temple of Asklepios was built near the enclosure of a sacred spring in a small cave and it included an abaton, a sleeping hall sacred to Asklepios where initiates could sleep while watched over by priests of Asklepios who prayed to Asklepios to visit these initiates in their sleep and give them messages intended to heal and cleanse. The following morning, initiates would tell their dream to a priest of Asklepios or Hygeia, called 'therapeutes'. The initiate would then be encouraged to put the advice he or she had gotten into practice. We ask you to take part in this night time practice and follow it up with sacrifices to Asklepios and His daughter the day after.

The day after the epidauria was the day the initiates would have traveled to Eleusis. We moved this to the start as a way to introduce you to the Mysteries themselves, but for the ancient Hellenes, this was a walk that ended in darkness, with a torch lit procession to the shrine of Demeter and an offering that was not burned but buried. In the case of the ancient Hellenes, this was most likely a pig but we leave it to you what you want to offer to the Goddess.

We can say with a relative degree of certainty, that the day before the actual initiation was a day on which the initiates fasted in preparation of the main initiatory rite that took place in the nighttime hours of the next day. If you wish to join us for that fast, we would encourage you to stop eating at dusk on 1 October and consume nothing but water (or juice, if you need to!) until after the main rite that takes place in after dusk on 21 September, once it's completely dark out.

While the Eleusinian Mysteries were held largely out of gratitude for the agricultural knowledge provided to us by Demeter, the ancient Hellenes became initiates for an entirely different reason: to be looked more favourably upon by the Theoi in death. Through the worship of Demeter and Persephone, participants hoped that Persephone would talk to Her Husband and the Judges of the dead. It is this focus that all rituals have: the rites of being initiated into the Mysteries in order to be well taken care of after death.

After the main initiatory right, the festival winded down. It's quite possible the initiated didn't sleep throughout the night of their initiation and the attested sacrifice to Demeter and Persephone the next day, we feel, was most likely done at dusk. Feel free to hold it at the standard PAT ritual time of 10 AM EDT, though. the focus of this sacrifice was the complete tipping out of two jugs of water onto the eath by the initiated, one to Demeter and one to Persephone, most likely in gratitude of the experience and knowledge gleamed the previous night.

The following day, we are unsure of what happened, exactly, but we take it to be a resting day and have prepared a simple rite to the Theoi for it. Day nine is another, general, rite, but we encourage you--as the initiated were--to add prayers and hymns to the Theoi you feel closest to to it with the goal of reestablishing the connection with Them after being so immersed in rites with a Kthonic character.

On the final day, we have prepared a closing rite which thanks the Theoi for guiding you on this journey and has you take off the króki you tied around your wrist on the first day. This will signal the end of the Mysteries.

To make things easier, we have laid out a time table:

  • September 6 / 15 Boedromion: starting ritual 
  • September 7 / 16 Boedromion: purification rite
  • September 8 / 17 & 18 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone / prayers to Asklepios for prophetic dreams and healing (nighttime)
  • September 9 / 18 Boedromion: Epidauria ritual
  • September 9 / 19 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter (nighttime) (fasting day)
  • September 10 / 20 Boedromion: initiation rite (nighttime) 
  • September 11 / 20 Boedromion: tipping out of water jugs to Demeter and Persephone
  • September 12 / 21 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone 
  • September 13 / 22 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone + personal sacrifices
  • September 14 / 23 Boedromion: closing rite

  • We truly hope you will join us for this event. You can share your experience with the community here and all rituals can be found here. Note, these are ALL rituals, eleven of them in total. One for every day, plus one extra. Read the explanation above and see the schedule for clarification. It is highly encouraged you read through them before the Mysteries start! We are very excited about the opportunity of offering this experience to you and we hope you will find a glimmer of what the ancient Hellenes might have experienced during the most anticipated days of the year.
    An underwater ruin that could be the remains of a public building situated near the port of Salamis in antiquity – possibly one seen and mentioned by the traveler and geographer Pausanias in the 2nd century AD – is gradually emerging following an archaeological investigation of Ambelakia bay near the island.


    Salamis is the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, about 1 nautical mile (2 km) off-coast from Piraeus and about 16 kilometres (10 miles) west of Athens. The traditional etymology of Salamis derives it from the eponymous nymph Salamis, the mother of Cychreus, the legendary first king of the island. A more modern theory considers "Salamis" to come from the root sal 'salt' and -amis 'middle'; thus Salamis would be the place amid salt water.

    When the Persians invaded Greece in 480 BC, they sacked Athens and marched across the mainland after defeating the Hellenes at Thermopylae. The Persian navy then sought to destroy the rest of the Hellenic force in the naval battle at Salamis. If the Persians won at Salamis, Hellas would be lost, and so the site is of great historical value.

    A culture ministry announcement issued on Monday said that a large and robust structure constructed of stone plinths, roughly 13 meters long, is traced in the mud beneath the water. The find is located a short distance from the more contemporary 48-meter pier, built before 1900 using ancient building materials, that stands out in the northern section of Ambelakia bay.

    "It is, in all likelihood, the base (with strong localized foundations in its southern section) of a public building construction."

    The shape of the foundations, other architectural elements and movable finds located on the site, combined with the earlier nearby find in 1882 of a marble pedestal for a statue with a dedicatory inscription, lead to the initial conclusion that the building was either a temple or stoa used in the later Roman era but possibly built earlier, in the late Classical or Hellenistic eras.

    The new finds were revealed during the second phase of a underwater survey along the historically important eastern coast of the island of Salamis, taking in the Ambelakia bay, the port of the Classical-era city of Salamis controlled by Athens, which served as the main gathering place of the united Greek fleet before the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C., as well as the region off the Kynosoura peninsula in the north of the island, where the most important Nike monuments are situated.

    "[The geophysical survey in the Kynosoura area yielded a] large volume of high-quality digital data, the processing of which is expected to shed light on the paleogeographic development of the region and the location of targets of archaeological significance."

    The aim of the research is to trace the Classical-era coastline of the island and put together the region’s coastal paleogeography, while also revealing possible archaeological finds resting on the seabed or hidden beneath it. It is part of a three-year cooperation program between the Underwater Antiquities Ephorate and the Institute of Underwater Archaeological Research (IENAE), led by Dr. Aggeliki Simosi and Ioannina University professor Dr. Yiannos Lolos, with the participation of the Patras University’s Laboratory of Marine Geology and Physical Oceanography.